An Innovative Solution to the Arizona School Bus Driver Shortage Gets the Green Light
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 13, 2022
An Innovative Solution to the Arizona School Bus Driver Shortage
Gets the Green Light
PHOENIX, ARIZONA— Schools across Arizona have struggled for years attracting and retaining school bus drivers, leaving many kids without an option for transportation to get to classes and participate in field trips. SB 1630 (school buses; student transportation; vehicles) sponsored by Senator Sine Kerr, is a commonsense solution to provide schools more flexibility to meet the needs of the families they serve. Today, Governor Ducey signed this bill into law.
This legislation authorizes a school district, charter school or contracted private entity to use a vehicle designed to carry between 11 and 15 passengers to transport students on a regular basis. Current law only permits the use of these smaller buses for limited school activities. This bill also requires the Department of Public Safety to develop safety rules and regulations for the use of these vehicles. Furthermore, it requires the drivers of these vehicles to possess all of the safety training requirements prescribed by DPS, but it does not require a driver to have a commercial driver's license in order to operate them, unless otherwise required by federal law.
"Arizona is a prime example of just how grossly understaffed school districts and charter schools across the nation are when it comes to bus drivers," said Senator Kerr. "Drivers with a CDL are in high demand, and we're losing them to big companies like Amazon and Fed Ex. A mixture of outdated federal and state laws are only exacerbating the problem. The end result is children are experiencing big delays in their pick-ups, field trips and athletic events are being cancelled, parents are forced to drive inordinate distances to get their children to class, drivers are working sometimes 15-hour days to combat the shortage, and administrators are being forced to pick up some of the workload themselves. Schools should be able to deploy any and every tool available to support their students. This bill recognizes that safety is of utmost importance when it comes to our children and provides DPS with complete regulatory oversight to ensure that when students load on-to these vehicles, they will be protected as they make it to and from their destinations."
This legislation will take effect 90 days after the legislature adjourns.
For more information, contact:
Director of Communications | Arizona State Senate Republican Caucus